Frida Kahlo exhibit in San Francisco

WOW!!  This past Sunday, August 17, I saw the Frida Kahlo exhibit at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.   With the overwhelming response to the exhibit, the museum sold the tickets on a timed entry.  I entered at 2:00pm.  I spent the next two hours totally engaged with each painting as I passed.  I was the only one in the room using my Blackberry to capture my initial thoughts as I stood in front of each one.  There were three rooms dedicated to this exhibit.  Two of them contained her paintings and one contained framed original photographs from the Vicente Wolf Collection.

Here is the brochure from the event.  The featured painting for the exhibit was “Self-Portrait with Thorn Necklace and Hummingbird”.  This painting was used on the museum brochure, the exhibit hard cover book and on the large paper tote bag that carried your purchases.

The first room that you entered in to highlighted her works from 1930-1937.  The paintings that were shown were:

  1. Portrait of Luther Burbank, 1931
  2. Portrait of Mrs. Jean Wight, 1931
  3. Portrait of Dr. Leo Elsasser, 1931
  4. Henry Ford Hospital, 1932
  5. Self-Portrait with Necklace, 1933
  6. My Dress Hangs There, 1933
  7. Self Portrait on the Border Line between Mexico and the United States, 1932
  8. Frida & Diego Riveria, 1931
  9. My Grandparents, Parents and I, 1936
  10. The Deceased Dimas Rosas, 1937
  11. Portrait of Diego Rivera, 1937
  12. A Few Small Nips, 1935
  13. Self-Portrait: “Very Ugly”, 1933
  14. My Nurse & I, 1937
  15. Self-Portrait with Bed  (also called Me and My Doll), 1937
  16. Self-Portrait, 1930
  17. My Birth, 1932

The second room highlighted her works from 1938-1951.  Here is what I viewed:

  1. Two Nudes in a Forest, 1939
  2. The Suicide of Dorothy Hale, 1939
  3. Girl with Death Mask, 1938
  4. Itzcuintli Dog with Me, 1938
  5. Self-Portrait with Monkeys, 1943
  6. Diego and Frida 1929-1944
  7. The Broken Column, 1944
  8. Flower of Life, 1944
  9. Magnolias, 1945
  10. Sun and Life, 1947
  11. The Love of the Universe, 1949
  12. Still Life with Parrot and Fruit, 1951
  13. Still Life, 1951
  14. Still Life with Parrot and Flag, 1951
  15. Moses, 1945
  16. Self-Portrait with Monkey, 1945
  17. The Circle, no date
  18. Miniature Self-Portrait, 1946
  19. Portrait of Lucha Maria……, 1942
  20. Portrait of Dona Rosita Morillo, 1944
  21. Without Hope, 1945
  22. Me and My Parrots, 1941
  23. The Mask, 1945

The third room contained well over one hundred individually framed, original photographs.  These were fascinating to look at, particularly after viewing the previous paintings.  At the end of the exhibit there was a gift shop where  you could purchase Frida items ranging from posters and prints, shadow box collages, men’s ties, women’s hand embroidered shirts (reminiscent of Frida’s shirts), magnets, postcards, etc.  I purchased the exhibit hard bound book that contains all of the paintings and photos as well as stories about her life and the times that she lived.

Some of the paintings were much smaller than I had imagined and unless you see them up close and personal you miss many details.  In particular, I never noticed the collage work at the bottom of “My Dress Hangs There”.  What appears to be bricks or stones is actually collaged pictures of crowds and lines of people!!  You miss the raised texture of the gladiola on “The Deceased Dimas Rosas”, the floral anklet that Frida wears in “A Few Small Nips”, or the detail of Frida’s eyebrows on her “Self Portrait”.  This was a rare opportunity to see so much of her art in one place.

I feel honored to have had the privilege to see this.  If you get a chance to go to San Francisco before September 28, stand in line and buy a ticket.  You will not be disappointed.

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